Monday, August 11, 2008

[The Chosun Ilbo, June 27 2008] What To Do About Media Fabrications

The Korea-U.S. beef accord was reached on April 18. At that time, there were hardly any rumors floating around that eating American beef would lead to one contracting the human form of mad cow disease or variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD). But just 15 days later on May 2, citizens began holding candlelight vigils with junior high school students holding placards saying they were too young to die.

What triggered the panic in a previously calm public was the April 29 edition of the MBC current affairs program “PD Diary,” which questioned whether U.S. beef was safe. With the program as a starting point, other broadcasters began a full-court offensive in instilling the belief among Koreans that eating American beef would lead to vCJD. Even though the whole world has now learned that the key claims made by “PD Diary” were either fabricated or intentional distortions of facts, the irresponsible claims made by “PD Diary” intensified as they spread through the Internet, creating a mad cow scare.

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